Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa, built on the site of a villa once occupied by Umberto II, the last king of Italy — Photo courtesy of Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa
Located on the coast 30 km west of Lisbon, Cascais is a year-round destination in Portugal renowned for its collection of handsome townhouses and palm-fringed cobbled squares. It’s still a working fishing port, but these days it’s better known for its modern marina and the pockets of golden sand surrounding the harbor that attract sun worshipers from the city and beyond. Many find a comfortable stay at Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa.
Set on the outskirts of the town not far from the marina is the Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel. Set on a bluff near the landmark Boca do Inferno beauty spot, the hotel takes in the same ocean views that would have greeted the last Italian king Umberto II all those years ago, who lived for 37 years in exile at Cascais.
But that’s really where any familiarity ends. For whereas Umberto II certainly lived out his days in considerable comfort, today’s hotel guests are regaled with a standard of hospitality that the hapless monarch could only have imagined.
The five-star Cascais hotel property features 124 rooms, a figure that includes 10 junior suites, eight suites and three superbly appointed penthouses. Room interiors have been decorated in shades inspired by the shifting colors of the ocean – blues, greys and greens – and by warmer late afternoon hues, red, yellow and orange.
In fact, the Atlantic influence characterizes much of what this exceptional hotel has to offer, not least the spa, which is noted for its thalassotherapy – the medical application of seawater as a form of therapy. Real Spa Marine uses seawater in a number of its signature treatments to restore and revitalize the body. Guests can also indulge in an invigorating Vichy shower, hydro massage and numerous face and body treatments. Emphasis is also placed on therapies that draw on Far East culture, treatments such as oriental reflexology, reiki, shiatsu and Indian head massage.
The two outdoor swimming pools are filled with heated seawater and cater to adults and children.
The focus on guests’ wellbeing extends to the cuisine. The hotel has two restaurants and both offer customized diet and health programs. Mediterranean-influenced gastronomy is served at the a la carte La Terraza, while the less formal Navegantes offers a buffet-style service, again with a menu inspired by southern European recipes. The outstanding ocean views are standard!
This really is a property fit for a king. Built on the site of the former residence of Umberto II, Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa honors the Italian monarch by association, and with the stylish opulence and attention to detail that Umberto would have been accustomed to.
The hotel has proved its worth as a business venue, too. The property offers no less that 16 multi-purpose meeting rooms, which can hold a total of 450 delegates. Indeed, Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa has hosted several international product launches, including automobile campaigns. Group conferences and incentives are regularly held, and with free wi-fi connection throughout the rooms and public spaces, guests can remain online 24/7.
It’s a far cry from Umberto II’s day, but today’s resident can still relax on one of the terraces as the Italian monarch would have done and instead write a letter while lingering over a drink as the sun sets. For some, tradition will never go into exile.